You seem to be very emotional about Highway.
This film is not just a film to me. It is an experience that I never had. I started working at the age of 18 and I had this one wish to have one such experience of say, going to college, being by yourself, being independent. It is that experience. It's like video taping myself and releasing it. So you can say that Highway is my journey.
What was the most challenging thing that you faced during shooting of this film?
Highway is an emotional and physical journey that I was awarded to undertake. As I said earlier, it was an experience of a lifetime for me. I pushed myself a lot for this film. It was too physically challenging for me.
What was your initial reaction when you were offered the script?
When Imtiaz Sir (Ali, director-producer) came to my house the first time, I did not know what the script was. He came with a small script ... generally scripts are larger in size. So, initially, I thought it was a short film. He knows my father really well (filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt). So he told me to go and read the script while he would hang around with my father. It was only when I went through the script that I realized it was a full length film.
Almost every Imtiaz Ali female lead starts out as a carefree girl who attains a new maturity at the end of her journey. Do you agree?
I strongly believe that when Imtiaz Sir writes a character, he gives a meaning and depth to the character. Every character is different from one another. They stand out in their own way. It takes a toll on you - physically and emotionally - to do justice to that character. When I started shooting this film, I slowly realized that the character I am playing, whose name is Veera, even she has a journey of her own. We travelled a lot. We started in Delhi and it ended in Kashmir. The journey, emotionally also, started at a particular point and ended somewhere else.
Among the two characters you played in your first film Student Of The Year (SOTY) and Highway, which is your favourite?
Both characters are poles apart ... they are too different from each other. In SOTY, it was a glamourous role with lots of make-up and designer dresses, while in Highway I had to go completely without make-up. Highway taught me things that I won't even will be able to express probably to anybody. Let's just say that when I started this film and when I ended it, I was no longer the same person. Even today, I want to go back to the first day of shoot and I want to experience it all over again.
How did you prepare for your role?
There were no preparations. I was fully, blindly dependent on Imtiaz Sir. I just let the journey take me where it wanted to, I just let the film happen to me.
--IBNS (Posted on 31-12-2013)